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Battle Ready (Study in Command) Hardcover – May 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399151761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399151767
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.8 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,180,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since the publication of The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy has established an unrivalled position as the world's leading thriller writer, with a string of million-selling novels and three major Hollywood films to his name. He is also the author of SSN and the non-fiction books Submarine, Armoured Warfare, Fighter Wing and Marine.

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About the Author

Tom Clancy is the author of thirteen novels, most recently The Teeth of the Tiger, and the Commanders series Into the Storm , Every Man a Tiger and Shadow Warriors. He lives in Maryland. General Tony Zinni (ret) continues to lead special missions to many nations including Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, Russia, Yemen and the Philippinnes. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bert Ruiz on 1 Jun 2004
Format: Hardcover
Tom Clancy lives up to his reputation...he has chalked up another best seller. "Battle Ready," is a stirring narrative of Anthony Zinni's legendary 40-year Marine Corps career.
Clancy's eloquent certification of Major General Zinni's military credentials provides a formidable platform for a very tough critque of the intellecutual authors of the United States invasion of Iraq. Moreover, Clancy's well-known hawkish convictions adds volume to Zinni's powerful charge that the Bush administration failed the American people.
The former United States Central Command Commander in Chief points many fingers...and backs it up with solid facts. Zinni is a classic gentleman and officer and like many other Marines I know from Philadelphia...he tells it like it is. Highly recommended.
Bert Ruiz
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Robinson on 20 Aug 2004
Format: Hardcover
This a bit of an odd book being part military biography, part recollections and part free streaming - the last chapter his reflection on where we are in the world. But that part is minor -and it is mainly a good old fashioned biography less a family/boyhood section. In general it is an interesting read - Clancy being such a good writer and Zinni with the interesting story. In any case Zinni provides many comments and recollections while Clancy seems to edit and write to fill in the gaps between Zinni's descriptions of his career and Clancy provides the context and overall perspectives. The book would have been a lot better with some photos and maps and some parts a bit shorter and some longer with more writing by Clancy. There is a reasonable index but no references or bibliography. For myself the Vietnam section is the most compelling read along with his time as a middle east peace envoy near the end of the book. His years in training etc. and different assignments 1975 to 1990 are a bit of a yawn, and some parts with no photos and dry discussions of his mid career make it a bit slow. The book is good but not great. Dear authors: add photos and maps in the next or paperback version!
The book opens with a brief introduction to Zinni as CINC commander for the first 22 pages and then drops back to the beginning of his career where we find him in Vietnam. The next 100 pages covers the young lieutenant Zinni. Quickly we find him directing artillery fire on his first assignment. In his second combat experience he travels (naively) by himself by common Vietnamese bus to the Mekong Delta - Rung Sat. The oppressive heat, rivers, canals, jungle and the lurking VC (fighters by night farmers by day) all remind me very much of the recent book that I read on John Kerry - "Tour of Duty" - do not laugh!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 60 reviews
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Best Book Clancy Has Offered Recently, Zinni is Superb! 10 Jun 2004
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For the serious, this book absolutely merits a careful reading, together with Dana Priest's "The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military," and--for a fuller and free overview--my varioius reviews on emerging threats, strategy and force structure, and why our current "military only" approach to foreign policy is ineffective.
There are some tremendous gems in this book, some of which I summarize here.
1) Zinni is mpressive in his grasp of grand strategy, of the urgency of understanding the threat, devising a full approach that mixes and matches *all* instruments of national strategy, and that focuses--as Zinni learned to focus in Viet-Nam, on the hearts and minds of the people rather than the force on force battles (a means to an end, not an end in themselves).
2) Zinni's understanding of war comes across very early in the book when he describes the six completely different wars that took place in South Viet-Nam, each with its own lessons, tactics, and sometimes equipment differences--nuances that conventional military policy, doctine, and acquisition managers back in the US still do not understand: a) Swamp War, b) Paddy War, c) Jungle War, d) Plains War, e) Saigon War, and f) DMZ War.
3) Zinni has read SLA Marshall on "The Soldier's Load", and he notes that the equipment that the South Vietnamese carried was lighter and better for their needs--the US military-industrial complex burdens our Armed Forces with overly heavy things, too many of them, that actually impair our ability to fight. Perhaps even more fascinating, Zinni sees that buying equipment for our troops locally cuts the cost by 4/5th. Not what your average US contractor wants to hear, but precisely what I as a taxpayer am looking for--with the added advantage that this puts money into the local economy and helps stabilize it.
4) Within the center of the book, there are rich lessons about war-fighting and peace-making that will stand the test of time. Most impressive is Zinni's focus on pre-emptive relationship building across the region.
a) Relationships matter, and relationships forged in advance go a very long way in avoiding misunderstanding and defusing crises. If you have to fight, relationships are the single best means of reducing the fog of war and assuring good integration of effort across cultures, nations, and armies.
b) Speed and mixed forces matter. Zinni was the master, in four different timeframes, of using speed and properly mixed forces to achieve effects not possible with larger forces arriving late. In Viet-Nam he worked with "the Pacifiers", especially reinforced company-size units that had been specially augmented with flamethrowers, extra machine guns and mortars, and their own engineers and scouts, all trained for instant deployment. At Camp Hansen, during the times of race riots, he learned the value of a fast, big guard force *combined with* constant and open dialog with the troops in distress. In humanitarian operations, he learned that rapid delivery of food tended to rapidly reduce the violence--get the food flowing fast, and reap the peace benefits. And finally, in developing the Marine Corps variant of special operations capable forces (not to be confused with the uniquely qualified Special Operations Forces), he developed the original capabilities of doing special things "from the sea."
c) Non-state entities, both tribal threats and non-governmental organizations, are the heart of the new battle. Repeatedly Zinni comments on how poorly we do in terms of thinking about strategy, operations, and tactics for the sub-state war, and how badly we do at intelligence about tribes, and at coordinating with non-governmental organizations. Zinni finally discovered the true value of Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations as a flag officer, and ended up nurturing the creation of Civil Military Operations Centers, and a new language, such as "Humanitarian Relief Sectors" instead of "kill zone."
5) Zinni makes some other observations throughout the book that are relevant now.
a) His respects Clinton as a quick study. Without disparagement, he makes it clear that Sandy Berger and Bill Cohen were mediocrities. He admired James Baker, who tried to do Marshall Plan kinds of things and could not get the beltway crowd to see the light. He is cautionary on General Wayne Downing (who went on with the Rendon Group to sponsor Chalabi--Zinni, on page 343, makes it clear he knew Chalabi was a thief and liar as early as 1998). He is admiring of Ambassador Bob Oakley.
b) With respect for foreign capabilities, among the insights are the integrity and capability of Pakistani and Bangladeshi troops, who maintained and then returned US complex equipment in better condition than it was received, with every single tool in every single kit present and accounted for; Italian military field hospitals; African troop tactical fighting discipline and capability.
6) The book wraps up with Zinni's recommendations for change, all of which are on target: use retired Service and theater chiefs to constitute the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rather than the Service Chiefs with their parochial interests; earmark budgets for the theater commanders--inter-agency budgets; create an inter-agency strategy and operations center to make the government, not just the military, "joint."
Zinni's final observations deal with ethics and the obligation to avoid spin and always speak the truth. Zinni is smarter than the current crop of military leaders, who mistake loyalty to specific individuals with loyalty to the Constitution. He also differs from them in understanding that Operations Other than War (OOTW) is where it is at and will be for the foreseeable future.
Missing from the book is any reference to national and military intelligence, other than one small section where he notes it simply was not reliable and not available at the tribal level. Also missing from this book are any references to John Boyd, Mike Wylie, Bill Lind, or G.I. Wilson, all four of whom were, in my opinion, the legs of the intellectual stool that Zinni constructed for himself over time.
This is a serious book.
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
A die-hard republican and a General - it's time to listen 31 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating look at the life of a great General. However it is General Zinni's criticism of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that has people lining up to praise or attack this book on purely ideological grounds. I've got to tell you, that is foolish no matter what "party" you subscribe to.
Look Tom Clancy is a die-hard Republican and a friend to Ronald Reagan. Zinni is a retired Marine general and former CentCom commander (which covers Iraq along with the rest of the middle-east). Zinni was highly regarded in the Bush administration who appointed him to several key jobs, including a role as special envoy to the President to the middle-east. If President Bush trusted Zinni enough to have him speak on his behalf to the leaders of key middle-eastern countries, he's clearly somebody Bush respected.
If these two guys are so moved by what Rumsfeld has done that they will criticize him publicly - maybe we should listen. If we disagree, we had better understand why, because we are disagreeing with two highly respected men with a deep understanding of military affairs. Forget all the trashy "anti-Bush" books being written out there. This isn't anti-Bush, these are two voices that Americans can trust who (in their minds at least) are trying to save the United States military from a disaster in Iraq. If anything it is anti-Rumsfeld in places, but they certainly have well qualified criticism.
I'm not sure I entirely agree with them (I supported going to war in Iraq) but so far Zinni's predictions on what would happen in Iraq have been dead on. It is his success in seeing what was coming that leads me to take a second look at what he has to say. I know personally I've been pretty wrong about what I thought would happen, and Zinni's been pretty right. Maybe we need to calm down, turn off the rhetoric, and listen to what these men have to say.
And if you came here to praise or bash this book based on politics, don't waste our time. Try reading the book first.
38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
zinni dead on 28 May 2004
By Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
General Zinni is simply stating publicly what our present military leaders have been fuming about in private for months. They are furious that the iraq occupation has turned into a fiasco, and that detailed and common sense proposals for post-war iraq were pointedly ignored by Rumsfeld et al., even though they were coming from the top brass in the military and the state department.
Also, to say that Zinni is simply just another left-wing propogandist is laughable. He supported and voted for George Bush in 2000, and like a growing number of republicans, he now regrets that support.
That a former CENTCOM commander should be making these criticisms of our current commander-in-chief should give every conservative in this country pause for thought.
67 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Tough critque from a Marine Corps legend 26 May 2004
By Bert Ruiz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Tom Clancy lives up to his reputation...he has chalked up another best seller. "Battle Ready," is a stirring narrative of Anthony Zinni's legendary 40-year Marine Corps career.
Clancy's eloquent certification of Major General Zinni's military credentials provides a formidable platform for a very tough critque of the intellecutual authors of the United States invasion of Iraq. Moreover, Clancy's well-known hawkish convictions adds volume to Zinni's powerful charge that the Bush administration failed the American people.
The former United States Central Command Commander in Chief points many fingers...and backs it up with solid facts. Zinni is a classic gentleman and officer and like many other Marines I know from Philadelphia...he tells it like it is. To this end, Zinni has articulated the most powerful charges I have ever seen a retired Marine Corps officer use against an administration at war. Highly recommended.
Bert Ruiz
40 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Cogent Analysis by military-minded author and insider 25 May 2004
By Roger the Bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Number four in the Commander series, and maybe the best one yet. In his inimitable style, Clancy gives a penetrating analysis of the career of General Zinni, former head of Central Command and a forty-year vet. Concludes with an unflinching commentary on the war in Iraq, and given the experience and expertise talking here, is really difficult to dismiss the numerous errors identified in both the run-up to the war, the basic strategy underlying the war, and the failures since, but gives largely praises for General Franks performance. Particularly critical of Bush insiders taken in by the Chalabi sect, this book may alienate some with a political ax to grind, but those will likely have difficulty refuting the points made by Clancy and Zinni.
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